On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Sonia Gandhi made some grandiose remarks at Rajghat following a padayatra led by Rahul Gandhi. Addressing a crowd of Congress workers, the Congress President said, “India has Gandhi’s principles as its foundation. The India we have seen in the last five years will shake Gandhi’s idea of India.”
Essentially, Sonia Gandhi is right. India has displayed a remarkable shift from the days of pathological nonviolence that defined Gandhi’s legacy in the past years. And it’s not a bad thing at all. Contrary to the Gandhian policy of offering the other cheek when one of them is slapped, India has decided to combat the Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism with disproportionate costs imposed through the Indian Armed Forces.
The Surgical Strikes following the terror attack at Uri and the airstrikes following the Pathankot terror attack is evidence of that. And now, with the abrogation of Article 370, it has become more than evident that India shall not shackle itself through impractical expectations of the kind that Gandhian philosophy represents.
Sonia Gandhi further said, “Only Congress has followed Gandhi’s path and will continue to do so.” She is right insofar as she is referring to the pathological nonviolence aspect of Gandhi’s ideology. The refusal to use India’s military might against Pakistanis and emphasizing talks instead to resolve issues between the two countries bear testament to that fact.
However, the Congress party has completely ignored the other aspect of Gandhi’s ideology, one that was concerned about the welfare of cows and the manner in which he prioritized cow protection. Gandhi once said, “Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live so long as there are Hindus to protect the cow…… Hindus will be judged not by their Tilaks, not by the correct chanting of Mantras, not by their pilgrimages, not by their most punctilious observances of caste rules, but their ability to protect the cow.”
While Gandhi was concerned greatly with Gauseva and cow protection, the Congress party slaughtered a cow on the streets of Kerala and consumed its meat. Therefore, it does seem rather hypocritical on Sonia Gandhi’s part to claim that only the Congress party has followed Gandhi’s path when it violated one of the core principles of Gandhi’s ideology so blatantly and in an extremely vile manner.
She also said, “Some people who are trying make RSS the symbol of India and sideline Mahatma Gandhi, those who want to have absolute power, will never understand Gandhi.” These are mere talking points that have very little to do with actual facts. The truth is, the BJP and the RSS have co-opted Gandhi and have adopted Gandhi’s legacy, not only within the country itself but also at the international scene. Mahatma Gandhi has not been sidelined at all, in fact, he is one more stalwart of the country whose legacy is being used to further cement Hindutva’s hold over the political scene of the country.
In much the same way as the Congress party clung on to only one aspect of Gandhi’s ideology, the BJP, too, has only focused on Gandhi’s emphasis on Gauseva and Swachh Bharat and other aspects while completely abandoning Gandhi’s pathological nonviolence. Therefore, Sonia Gandhi is right when she said that the last five year will shake Gandhi’s idea of India. But as it so happened, Nehru’s idea of India already killed it long back.